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Understanding the Addictive Personality

An addictive personality refers to a set of personality traits that make one more likely to engage in behaviors that may lead to addiction. The idea of an “addictive personality” is a bit of a misnomer. While psychological traits do play a factor in one’s likelihood of engaging in drug or alcohol use, there are many other factors, such as genetics, environment, and social factors that are equally important in causing one to have a propensity toward drug use.

Researchers examining addiction have found that there are a variety of psychological factors that make a person more likely to use drugs. No one personality type is more or less likely to face addiction. Dr. Michael Weaver, director of the Center for Behavioral Research on Addiction at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, explained, “Personalities are very complex, and while there’s not one specific type that’s more prone to addiction than others, there are several factors that can combine to make you more likely to become addicted.” However, when a variety of different personality traits come together, a person may be more likely to engage in drug or alcohol use.

A 2016 Scientific American article by Maia Szalavitz, entitled The Addictive Personality Isn’t What You Think, points out that only 18% of people suffering from addiction hav a personality defined by “lying, stealing, lack of conscience, and manipulative antisocial behavior.” While this rate is four times the rate seen in people without addictions, a full 82% of people with addictions do not fit into this stereotype. Szalavitz explains that adventurousness and impulsive and being sad and cautious two paths to addiction, and “the third way involves having both kinds of traits, where people alternatively fear and desire novelty and behavior swings from being impulsive and rash to being compulsive, fear driven, and stuck in rigid patterns.”

There are several other personality traits that may influence addiction. According to a 1983 New York Times article by Bryce Nelson, entitled The Addictive Personality: Common Traits are Found, the traits tend to be “a lack of self-esteem, marked depression or anxiety, physical or sexual abuse in childhood, and sharply conflicting parental expectations.” However none of these will directly influence one to become addicted. Rather, addiction may be influenced by a complex interplay between a variety of personality traits.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can make the courageous decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future in sobriety. Resilient House, a treatment facility located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, understands the tolls addiction can take on your mind, body, and spirit. The caring and compassionate staff at Resilient House are ready to address all the aspects of substance dependency to bring you to a state of wholeness that supports long-term sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431